Don’t be fooled by marketing smoke and mirrors, effective customer service can be defined by a few key elements.
A few weeks ago, I took my car to a dealership for some work. “Don’t worry,” the service rep said as he took my keys. “I’m going to have my team get right to work.” I should have run away the minute he said, “team.”
It took the team more than 3 days to get the work done – work that another mechanic said should take a few hours. I called to ask for an update every day, and every day the front desk transferred me to the Service Rep. The Rep sent my call to the Lead Mechanic, who consulted with and transferred me to my Project Lead.
The Project Lead then spoke with my Mechanic Coordinator who finally told me the work was almost done. Not to worry, he explained, they offer rental cars. The Coordinator sent me back to the front desk, who transferred me to the rental department where I gave them my order before they sent me to the rental garage so I could give them the same order again.
I ended up paying an extra $80 for a rental because my “project team” couldn’t finish the job. There were at least 5 people of various specialties working on my car, and the only benefit to the massive team is no one person ever accepted blame for delays or mistakes.
Manufacturing Product Support You Can Trust
Let’s be honest, you don’t NEED a team to manage your project. You want ONE person you can count on to ensure all your project goals are met efficiently and cost effectively. You want that person to answer your questions, act as your advocate, respond to your needs and be responsible for solutions when something unexpected happens.
While sitting in the lobby of the car dealership while my “project team” came up with excuses, I came up with 3 keys to effective customer service for manufacturing software:
1) Accountability and Honesty.
You want someone who is going to be accountable not only for project success, but for the problems as well. Accountability means doing what it takes to meet the project goals, and having information necessary to give an honest answer. Don’t give me a repeat of the sales pitch – give me an honest assessment I can use. Project and budget overruns are not acceptable. Give me solutions, not change orders.
2) Management and Prioritization.
Many times, a “team” throws resources at a problem. Fancy titles don’t deliver solutions (I’m looking at you, Architecture Developer/ GUI Designer/ Team Lead/ Project Manager/ Programmer/ Engineer/ etc.) only higher service charges. Management means getting the appropriate resources engaged with the project at the right time, focusing on the highest priority items.
Finally, we all want someone working on a project we can trust. We want to know we aren’t being cheated, our time isn’t being wasted, and we are getting the best service possible. Partners take a proactive role in achieving superior results – offering suggestions and taking initiative.
Shop Floor Software That Works As Promised
As an industry, manufacturing software suppliers often struggle with customer service. We offer highly technical software that companies need and rely on, which is good. Even so, some companies design the system to require expensive service charges just to keep it running (which is why these companies promise “implementation service teams” to their customers). Other companies hide behind service desks and help lines, knowing their systems are so complex and confusing they will be inundated with calls and questions. That service desk in a foreign country is a good investment!
Yeah, we know all the tricks used in this industry – which is why we do things a little differently at CIMx.
We offer all our customers a dedicated Application Engineer to handle their account. Customers with a problem or question can call on the Application Engineer, who manages all aspects of their account. They install and implement the system, train users, install updates, manage special projects, and answer user questions. If any project needs additional support, the Application Engineer will lead the Development team working on the project.
It works out very well for our customers. They have a single point of contact for everything they need. The Application Engineer becomes an expert in the implementation for their customers, and is best positioned to answer questions and solve problems. In every case, the Application Engineer becomes a partner with their customers, helping to optimize the system while working with users because they understand not just the software, but the shop floor processes.
Of course, it helps to offer software built on a solid, well-tested foundation. When the software works as promised, the Application Engineer can focus on improvements, not just problems.
Make sense? Let us know if you have questions or want to learn more about how an Application Engineer from CIMx Software can help you.